- The U.S. Department of Labor granted states more than $2,200,000 in Fidelity Bonding Demonstration Grants, which help people with criminal records gain employment.
- Created by the Labor Department in 1966, the Federal Bonding Program (FBP) issues employers free fidelity bonds as job placement instruments for the formerly incarcerated and other "at-risk" people, a press release said. According to the department, more than 52,000 people have been placed in jobs since the FBP began.
- Besides increasing job opportunities for people with criminal backgrounds, the program's goals are to educate employers and the public on the availability and benefits of the bonds and reach out to employers to encourage them to hire the formerly incarcerated.
People with criminal backgrounds make up a largely untapped talent pool, one that employers may want to consider in their struggle to fill job openings. Barriers to reentry into the labor force persist, according to a report from Inc. Among these barriers are 20,000 state laws, cultural biases and skills deficits.
"Ban the box" ordinances, which remove questions about criminal backgrounds from job applications, have opened doors for some former prisoners, research from Case Western Reserve University found. Removing the box applicants check if they have a criminal history increased employment in high-crime areas in the U.S. by up to 4%, the study revealed.
For employers looking to make their hiring and employment practices more inclusive toward those with criminal backgrounds, they may want to assess how, when and why they inquire about applicants' criminal records, members of a panel said at the Society for Human Resource Management's Law & Legislative Conference. When employers do consider an applicant's criminal record, they can consider "the totality of the circumstances" in an effort to be reasonable in determining whether the person is right for the job, according to a member of the panel.